Ireland coach joe Schmidt is expecting a combative encounter against France on Sunday. Photograph: Afp

This Gallic-Irish showdown has always been highlighted as the potentially defining game of both countries in this World Cup. Now it has suddenly loome(...)

France’s number eight Louis Picamoles during a training session at the Vale Resort in Hensol, south Wales. Photograph: Getty Images

Number eight Louis Picamoles will start France’s Pool D decider against Ireland on Sunday as one of two changes to the team who beat Canada in their p(...)

Mathieu Bastareaud: “Bastareaud will come charging down the 10 channel . . . defending this shouldn’t be Johnny Sexton.” Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP. 5:10

How far back do I go in my homework for France in Cardiff? Their performances in the last Six Nations where they won two and lost three? Or should I s(...)

Cian Healy tees off at Celtic Manor in Wales as the Irish squad enjoyed a down day ahead of the World Cup game against FRance on Sunday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 5:10

Two days out from the biggest games of their respective tenures, Joe Schmidt and Philippe Saint-André are expected to retain the tried and trusted (...)

 Paul O’Connell and Rob Kearney at the Celtic Manor Resort where the Ireland squad is based in advance of Sunday’s clash with France. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Penarth is home. A quiet village four train stops from the Millennium Stadium and sleepless Cardiff sounds. Thanks to rigorous scoping on Airbn(...)

France’s prop Uini Atonio: “I was like ‘I would love to play for France’, but it was never in my mind.” Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images.

Most biographies of Uini Atonio say his official weight is 155kg, or 24st 6lbs. According to French sources, that was his weight when he pitched up wi(...)

France have vowed to hunt down Johnny Sexton in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup clash at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Afp

The pre-match psychological warfare in advance of Sunday’s Pool D showdown was ratcheted up a notch or two yesterday, with plenty of musings from Raci(...)

Devin Toner has rubbished French comparisons between Johnny Sexton and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photograph: Afp

They did this to Ronan O’Gara before the 2007 World Cup showdown in Paris. Guess who’s in the subtlest of firing lines eight years on? Mischievous Fre(...)

Simon Easterby has warned Ireland must beware of a rejuvenated Louis Picamoles in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Pool D encounter at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Getty

Ireland must beware Louis Picamoles’ broadened horizons in Sunday’s pivotal World Cup clash with France, according to Simon Easterby. Forwards coach (...)

Gordon D’Arcy celebrates with his  team-mates after scoring against France after his return from injury  in 2009. “The lads mobbed me because they understood what their team-mate had been through, where he had to climb from to wear a green jersey again.” Photograph: Peter Muhly/AFP 2:49

Being a recently retired player I know how everyone in the Ireland squad will be feeling. As Sunday comes closer public fears might be growing about F(...)